Barr's Irn-Bru - Supporting Scottish Football

Time Is Right For Jack Butland To Shine At Stoke City

Jack_Butland

Jack Butland signed for Stoke City back in 2013 after they paid Birmingham City £3.5m for his services.

Since then the young goalkeeper has only made six English Premier League appearances for ‘The Potters’.

Butland has spent the majority of his time either being understudy to Asmir Begovic at the Britannia Stadium or has been loaned out to Championship sides.

This summer as Jack captained the England Under-21 side in the Czech Republic, Bosnian international Begovic has been heavily linked with a big money move away from the West Midlands club.

Reports suggest that Premier League champions Chelsea are on the verge of taking Begovic to Stamford Bridge. Stoke seem eager to pocket at least £8m plus a Blues player coming on a season long, as Asmir only has a year left to run on his current contract.

Stoke City manager Mark Hughes has already planned for life without the extremely talented shot-stopper Begovic protecting his team’s goal. The former Wales boss has snapped up Danish youth international Jakob Haugaard from Danish Superliga champs FC Midtjylland this summer.

Stoke forked out around £600k for the Dane and he has came in to add stiff competition in the goalkeeping department.

But if Begovic does leave this off-season then it will surely be Butland that gets the nod to prove himself as the number one choice for next term.

Interestingly the twenty-two year old English goalie started three out of the last four games during the 2014-15 campaign.

It was as if Hughes was readying the keeper for what was to come this up and coming season. Butland impressed in those outings and kept two cleansheets.

Hughes himself praised Jack after those games:

“Jack is progressing really well and I’m really pleased. In the last three games he’s arguably got better with each game. That’s what I thought he would do when I decided to bring him in and give him his chance.

“It was important he played in games that meant something and that’s why I put him in.”

Like Joe Hart before him, Jack Butland seems destined to impress as a young English goalkeeper in the Premier League.

But for that to happen, he needs to make the most of his impending opportunity at the Britannia. He’s proved himself a commendable performer during his loan moves and his limited league appearances with Stoke, though he will now need to prove that week in and week out in England’s top flight.

As a keeper Butland stands at six foot five, so that offers a big presence between the goalposts. He is also level headed, quick and very agile. Really he has all the makings of a top class goalkeeper.

Jack will be keen to make a big impression next season and force his way back into the England set-up in time for next summers Euro 2016 tournament in France.

Hughes and England’s Roy Hodgson will be looking on in August and hoping that Jack Butland can realise his promise.

Looking at the young assured shot-stooper you’d like to think he will rise to the task with distinction. But only time will tell if he can finally hold down a starting spot in the Premier League and show off his undoubted qualities.

Man United Should Celebrate Binning Nani

Nani

Sometimes a player can have all the talent in the world but if he doesn’t work hard to fulfil that talent then he can soon become useless to all those around him.

Nani used to revel in comparisons people used to make about him and Cristiano Ronaldo. Both were young wing wizards plucked by Sir Alex Ferguson from Sporting Lisbon.

Ronaldo was the first to arrive back in 2003 and was a bit of a show-pony at the beginning. But he would work extremely hard to become one of the worlds great players and helped Manchester United to gain glory both domestically and in Europe. In 2009, Ronaldo would depart Old Trafford for Real Madrid in a (then) world record £80m deal.

Nani would join the ‘Red Devils’ in 2007 and was heralded as the next big thing. Like Cristiano before him he was extremely skilful, pacey and very flashy. His backflip celebration was typical of his flashy attention seeking behaviour. But unlike Ronaldo, Nani would never reach his full potential at United nor would he become a fan favourite with the United faithful. He just didn’t seem to have the heart to actually work hard on his game and improve his all round ability.

Now after eight years at Old Trafford (interrupted by his season long loan back at Sporting last term) Nani is set to leave for Fenerbahce for a lowly £4.25m fee.

Simply put Nani was a project that just didn’t really work-out for Man United.

He did show glimpses that he could become the star turn that was predicted. During the 2010/11 and 2011/12 seasons, the winger was regularly used (playing eighty-nine times and grabbing twenty goals). He was having a positive influence on the team and helped them to the league title in 2011.

But in the end the Portuguese international could never reach that elite level. Playing consistently well and being effective (especially against the better sides) eluded the twenty-eight year old for much of his career at United.

As I’ve already said, there can be no doubt that Nani has some fine qualities and a lot natural born talent. But Man United cannot afford to wait indefinitely for the wideman to finally get his head right and work hard to prove himself as the quality player Sir Alex though he was buying back in the last decade.

He simply didn’t work hard enough for reach his full potential at Manchester United and will now head to Turkey to try and resurrect his career in Istanbul.

That gives the Man United fans a chance to thank Nani for all he did at the club and wish him all the best. Then they can breathe a sigh of relief as the Ronaldo wannabe will no longer tease them with the possibility of great things before turning back into a dud who seems to be in a near constant slump!

Old Firm Bosses Impressing With Summer Transfer Dealings

old-firm

The managers of Rangers and Celtic might be shopping in two different transfer markets at the moment but both seem to be doing sterling work in bringing in the best possible talent afforded to them this summer.

Rangers have hired Mark Warburton as their new boss and the Englishman seems to be using all of his knowledge of England’s lower leagues to bring in young, hungry players that can come in and help the Gers stride towards a challenge for the Championship title.

Warburton and his number two Davie Weir have also decided that to gain long-term success at Ibrox they need to start by building solid foundations at the back.

That has seen them bring in two new centre-backs as their first signings at the club.

Former Gers defender Danny Wilson has returned after helping Hearts win the second tier title last term. The former Jambos captain has valuable experience at this level and has pace that is needed in the heart of defence these days.

Warburton has also brought in Rob Kieran, a player he knows well. The twenty-four year old seems like the model professional and hungry to help Rangers break back into Scotland’s top flight.

Youngsters Jordan Gibson and Tom Lang have joined the club’s academy as Warburton looks for gems that could provide the team with great long-term prospects.

The club have also brought in a few trialists including Andy Halliday and Reece Wabara. Both players determined to make things happen after spells in the lower leagues in England.

Former Middlesbrough man Halliday has always seemed to have had something about him whenever I’ve seen him play but consistency seems to be an issue with the twenty-three year old. He’ll be determined to make a go of things if given a chance in Govan.

Wabara is a former Manchester City youth who made one English Premier League (EPL) appearance for the side back in 2011. After various loans spells away from the Etihad, Reece would join Doncaster Rovers in a permanent move last term and played in fifty League One encounters for Donny. He left the English side this summer with the view of playing for a bigger club. That could see the pacey, energetic full-back move to Ibrox.

Glasgow’s blue half also seem to be interested in goalie Wes Foderingham. The former England youth international has been released by Swindon Town even though he impressed at the Robins during his four year stay. Wes could provide stiff competition for Cammy Bell’s number one spot and competition is always a great thing between keepers as one usually excels when they win the battle. The twenty-four year old is a good shot-stopper who commands his area well (that is straight from a Swindon Town fan who was disappoint to see him leave).

Finally Rangers have seen that they can’t just bring back old heroes and play one dimensional football. They needed to be cuter in the transfer window and that seems to be happening with Mark Warburton in charge. The Englishman seems to want a lean squad that is full of committed professionals ready for a long hard season ahead.

Over in the city’s east-end, Celtic boss Ronny Deila is also plundering England for new young recruits that can come in and improve his squad!

His targets have come in from a higher level though with Dedryck Boyata coming in from Man City and Saidy Janko joining from City’s rivals Manchester United.

Boyata really should have had more first team games under his belt but injuries have stalled his career. The fact he was at Man City and up against formidable teammates for a place in the team didn’t help. But that said the central defender has made more than twenty-five EPL appearances and has also been selected for the Belgium national team. The defender strolled through his debut against Den Bosh this week, showing some good touches on the ball and a decent turn of pace. Not bad for a player that cost little over £1m and who will want to get his career back on track.

Saidy is a Swiss under-19 international who won Man Utd’s reserve player of the year award in 2014. He failed to make his mark at senior level with United and was loaned out last season to Bolton Wanderers. At the Trotters he would work under former Celts manager Neil Lennon, who was impressed by the right-back, stating:

“He’s got real pace and power, which is always an asset”

“He was a little bit tentative to start with on his debut, but he grew into the game.”

“Once he was in full flow in the second half he made us better, he took us up the pitch”

The Celtic faithful love a marauding full-back who has good speed and can work back too. If Janko can show this at Celtic park then he could be a real bargain for the Hoops. They also like player who respects the club and would have been thrilled with Jankos comments during his first Celtic press conference:

“Even the big players like Messi, Xavi, they dream about the atmosphere at Celtic Park,”

“I know Celtic are a massive club in Europe, all over the world everyone knows Celtic. The supporters, the stadium, everything is huge.”

Janko’s arrival seems to have signalled the end of Adam Matthews Celtic career, with the Welshman set for a £2m move to Sunderland.

Deila and the Celtic board have used that familiar model of picking up talented prospects that they hope will shine when they are exposed to plenty of first team opportunities at Parkhead. They will then hope that these new recruits can help propel the side into the promised land of the Champions League. They would then likely sell them on for a tidy profit and do the same thing all over again. Not many teams seem to be able to do it quite as well as the Hoops do.

Both Deila and Warburton have talked about working with smallish squads and to maximise those squads to their full potentials. Although you’d imagine that both sides will want to strengthen their frontline positions before the season kicks-off.

The two managers will be working on different budgets and will have different objectives for the season ahead but both will want to see their sides play attractive football and gain success at the end of the 2015-16 campaign.

It’s refreshing to see two up and coming managers managing in Glasgow and trying to move away from the days of unimaginative signings and lacklustre training methods.

I suppose only time will tell if both Mark Warbuton and Ronny Deila can succeed this season. But I bet it will be entertaining as we watch on to find out!

Aston Villa Bound Idrissa Gueye Could Be This Summers Big Steal

Idrissa-Gueye.5

Aston Villa look set to open up their cheque book and splash out on LOSC Lille midfielder Idrissa Gueye.

It’s been widely speculated in media outlets that a £9m deal has been agreed between the two clubs. That fee would be the most spent on a Villa signing in the last four years.

The twenty-five year old Senegalese international has grown rapidly as a player in last three seasons and seems to improve with age and added experience.

At Lille, Gueye has become one of ‘Les Dogues’ key performers with his energetic and dynamic style.

The midfielder usually seems at his happiest when marshalling just in front of his defenders and breaking up play with his eagerness to track creative opposing talents quite astonishing. Like fine defensive minded midfielders before him, such as Claude Makelele, the Senegalese holding-man has that wonderful ability to read the game and get his team out of trouble early.

As he has gotten older Idrissa has started to venture further forward with more regularity than he had shown previously. That has resulted in him getting four Ligue 1 goals last term with Lille.

He also has a decent knack of keeping hold of the ball when he’s in possession, which is always a welcome positive for any midfielder.

Should Villa keep hold of Fabian Delph and bring in Idrissa Gueye that could give the club a great platform to remain disciplined in midfield and see the Villains take more games by the scruff of the neck.

To be honest his style of play looks extremely well suited to the English Premier League.

I have watched Gueye from afar for a while now due to my friendship with Andrew Gibney (a superb French Football journalist) who has a huge passion for Lille. It’s amazing what games interest you just because it interests a mate.

Andrew (@Gibney_A) has been really impressed with the midfield man’s talents for a while now. Towards the end of last season he told Twitter:

“Idrissa Gueye easily Lille’s best player this season.”

For more about Idrissa Gueye the player, Andrew wrote this about him for FRENCH FOOTBALL WEEKLY.

I know spending around £9m on a player is a big thing for Villa these days. But in the grand scheme of things looking around at some of the other deals that have happened so far this off-season, the Gueye transfer could be a real coup for the Midlands club and also a bit of a bargain.

Manager Tim Sherwood really seems to be starting something exciting at Villa Park and this kind of move only goes to cement such an idea.

If they can get this transfer deal over the line then they will have beaten the likes of Southampton, West Ham and Crystal Palace to get their man. That should show the supporters that things are progressing well under Sherwood.

I honestly believe that Gueye will provide a lot of energy and technical skill that will only improve Aston Villa’s midfield. I doubt they’ll miss Tom Cleverly too much once they see Idrissa Gueye run their engine room!

 

Applauding Partick Thistle’s Perfect PR This Summer!

Credit: Partick Thistle Football Club

Credit: Partick Thistle Football Club

I probably don’t need to introduce you to Partick Thistle’s new mascot ‘Kingsley’ as you’ve probably seen him all over the news in the last week and a half.

He is one scary looking mascot. But soon the scoffing and talk of being the worst mascot ever disappeared as Kingsley became a viral sensation online.

Kingsley and Partick Thistle soon began trending worldwide on Twitter. The image of this angry looking Lisa Simpson type character was all over every news outlet going. He even got a mention during a BBC Two primetime show.

Partick’s Media and Communications Manager George Francis has been inundated with media requests from around the world:

“The response to him has been incredible – we’ve had emails from CNN and Time magazine, we’ve been on websites in Australia and New Zealand, and somebody brought into the office the other day a newspaper from Cyprus with a story about Kingsley.

“We could never have predicted the extent to which it has gone global.”

Other Scottish sides have been left in the wake of the Jags successful PR campaign this summer.

It has shown many of us that creative sparks remain within the Scottish game.

Bringing in Turner Prize nominee David Shrigley has turned out to be a stroke of genius and having the balls to go with the end design deserves a big pat on the back too!

It has been fantastic to see a family friendly club like Partick Thistle, who have always been great for new media websites such as this one, bask in some well deserved limelight.

The club haven’t sat back and accepted praise or media attention to fall on just the now charismatic Kinglsey.

They launched their new home kit in Glasgow’s George Square on Tuesday in front of a big crowd. Their now famous mascot was obviously in attendance and helped entertain the punters, with kids falling over themselves to meet Kingsley.

Kingsley was launched on the back of Partick’s new six figure sponsorship deal with American investment advisory firm Kingsford Capital Management. That deal has been huge for Thistle and the exposure Kingsley has already received will show the Jags new sponsors that they picked wisely when they chose Partick Thistle.

While some of Thistle’s first team stars of last season have departed like Stephen O’Donnell and Scott Fox, fans will be buoyed with new faces coming in. Former Liverpool youngster David Amoo has signed up from Carlisle Utd, last seasons loanee Callum Booth has joined on a permanent deal and experienced Czech goalie Tomas Cerny will come in and challenge Paul Gallacher for the number one spot.

More new recruits need to be made but manager Alan Archibald will be happy with the progress that has been made so far this summer.

It seems like a real feel good factor has surrounded Firhill during this off-season.

The new strip looks dandy, the new mascot is already a worldwide star, the squad reinforcements are coming in and a valuable new sponsor has enthused all those involved with the Jags.

The Partick Thistle story this summer has been probably Scotland’s brightest footballing story. It just goes to show what you can do if you think outside the box, stick to a gameplay and execute it with perfection.

It should show others in Scotland that taking a wee calculated risk here and there can actually benefit your club!

For all the latest PARTICK THISTLE news visit their WEBSITE. You can also follow the club on Twitter @ThistleTweet

If you are in and around Glasgow in July then get yourself down to Firhill on Tuesday the 21st of July for a friendly against Wigan Athletic at 7.30pm or on Saturday the 25th of July for the 3pm kick-off against Rotherham Utd. 

Neil Lennon Could Be A Perfect Fit For Leicester City

Leicester City

It looks like too much infamy had gone on at the King Power Stadium and that even Premier League security was never going to be enough to keep Nigel Pearson in his job at Leicester City.

Pearson was sacked yesterday after the clubs board came to the conclusion that they could no longer work with him at the helm.

The fifty-one year old boss deserves a huge amount of credit. He managed the almost impossible task of keeping the ‘Foxes’ in the top flight of English football, even though at times last term they looked certain to go down.

After winning seven out of their last ten fixtures during last season’s campaign Pearson and his side managed to secure a fourteenth place finish.

The bookies have now installed current Bolton Wanderers gaffer Neil Lennon as the favourite to land the hotseat at the King Power Stadium.

Other names like Sam Allardyce, Burnley’s Sean Dyche and former Foxes boss Martin O’Neill have also been heavily linked with the post so far.

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But Lennon seems to be the intriguing one.

Neil became a Leicester City legend during his four year stint as a player with the Foxes during the late nineties. He helped the club win two League Cups during that period and that previous affiliation with the club would stand him in good stead with the home fans who still remember him fondly.

Before taking the job with the ‘Trotters’, Lennon had a rich spell as manager of one of his other former sides Celtic. He lead the Glasgow side to three league titles and two Scottish Cup triumphs in his four years as the clubs boss.

But it was his ability to get Celtic challenging against Europe’s best sides in the Champions League that won him plaudits from outside of Scotland.

In 2012-13 Lennon masterminded Celtic’s famous home 2-1 victory over the famous Barcelona side that contained the likes of Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Alexis Sanchez, David Villa and of course Lionel Messi. It wasn’t a fluke win either, Celtic were well disciplined and worked extremely hard for their victory.

During that same season Celtic would finish ahead of both Spartak Moscow and Benfica to finish behind Barca in the group stages and reach the last sixteen round of Europe’s most elite competition.

Also during his time in Glasgow, Lennon managed to get the best out of players such as Gary Hooper, Victor Wanyama, Fraser Forster and Ki Sung-Yueng who would all leave Parkhead to join English Premier League sides for big fees.

Quite a few eyebrows were raised when the Northern Irishman quit the Glasgow giants last summer. Those same eyebrows were raised even further when he decided to take the Bolton job as they lay at the foot of the Championship table.

But Lennon went to work and managed to turn things around and they managed to get out of trouble and climb up to eighteenth in the table, ten points away from the relegation places.

The key to Lennon’s success at both Celtic and Bolton has been his ability to convinced the players at his disposal to buy into his footballing philosophies. Neil seems to have the same ability as his former mentor Martin O’Neill in getting his troops to run the little bit harder and faster just because he has asked them too.

Lennon’s contacts with his former employers could also benefit Leicester if they chose to hire him as he’d no doubt look at the likes of Virgil van Dijk, James Forrest, Adam Matthews and Zach Clough as potential new recruits for the Foxes.

So in Neil Lennon the Leicester City board would be getting a young up and coming boss who has already enjoyed success both domestically and in Europe so far in his managerial career. He already knows the club and has a good relationship with it supporters and has shown that he can get the best out of his players in previous jobs.

It seems like a no brainer that he’d be the bookies favourite to take the job but will owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha decide to bring Lennon back to Leicester?

Well that’s the £120m question!

Why Gervinho Was Right To Demand A Helicopter And His Own Beach

Gervinho

One of the summers more bizarre transfer stories hit the press yesterday with Gervinho turning down a move to Al-Jazira.

Supposedly the United Arab Emirates club pulled the plug on the £10m deal after the striker made excessive contractual demands such as the club paying for him to have a helicopter, to give him his own private beach and an unlimited amount of airline tickets back to his homeland in the Ivory Coast.

Rightly the UAE club have called the ludicrous demands ‘obscene‘. They should never bow down to such player demands.

But looking at it from Gervinho’s perspective, I can see why he would make such outlandish requirements. Surely we’ve all went into certain work or family negotiations and have asked for ridiculous things just so we don’t have to do certain tasks.

The forward is twenty-eight years old and that is usually heading into a peak age for a professional footballer. So would he really want to wash up on a beach in the middle-east just yet?

Money probably isn’t a huge issue for the attacker who has no doubt had lucrative contracts at both Arsenal and current side Roma.

The African player understands that European football is still the best place to show off your talents. New world countries are becoming more popular with their wads of cash but that is usually for the slightly older veterans not for a twenty-eight year olds who can still get a game in the Champions League.

Say Barcelona were to come in for the Roma man. Would he demand a helicopter from them? Nope of course he wouldn’t!

I really don’t think Gervinho was being particularly greedy over the deal with Al-Jazira, he simply didn’t fancy heading out to retirement just yet.

SMcD

If anything I don’t think he actually asked for enough. I would have also wanted a 10ft golden statue of myself at the football stadium, Tom Kerridge hired as my own personal chef and a gold coin swimming pool much like the one Scrooge McDuck had!

No doubt further down the line Gervinho will one day end up at somewhere like the UAE, China or Qatar. But fair play to him for not chasing the money this time and holding out for a European move.

Had he joined Al-Jazira everyone who is mocking him over his demands would have instead slagged him off for being unambitious. So he could never win this one.

Man United Can’t Allow Real Madrid to Walk All Over Them This Summer

Man United logo

It’s a familiar story. Spanish giants Real Madrid want a player and spend most of the summer months hounding that player’s current club until they agree to sell said player.

It has happened quite a few times between Los Blancos and Manchester United. Names like David Beckham, Gabriel Heinze, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Cristano Ronaldo have all departed England’s north west in favour of the sunnier climes that Spain’s capital affords them.

Now Man Utd goalkeeper David de Gea seems to be Madrid’s main transfer target this summer and they have started the wooing campaign to get the Spanish international goalie to come back to his home city.

Real’s hierarchy clearly see the twenty-four year old as the ideal long-term replacement for club legend Iker Casillas, whose star has diminished somewhat in the past few years.

With De Gea only having a year left on his current United contract, Real seem determined to get their man at a cut-price fee of around £15m. While United value the shot-stopper at double that price, so around £30m.

For me, it is time that United started playing hardball with the Spanish giants.

Why should they accept a fee that is £2m less than the figure they shelled out for David back in 2011?

The fact that he has improved during his spell at Old Trafford backs up United’s claims that he is worth more than £15m.

Real President Florentino Perez seems very reluctant to shell you wads of cash for a player (especially a goalkeeper) who has just one year remaining on his contract.

But United have enough financial clout to hold De Gea to his contract, one he was happy to sign when he joined from Atletico Madrid four years ago. In doing that they keep hold of a world-class keeper, don’t sell for a fraction of their valuation of him and show Real that they will not be bullied.

United’s own interest in pursuing Real’s vice-captain Sergio Ramos seems to have complicated things.

The move for the centre-back, it’s been widely reported that Manchester United have submitted a £28.6m bid for the Spanish international, will probably annoy Perez.

The offer for Ramos has shown the world that Ramos is unhappy at the Bernabeu and seems to wish a move away.

Real hate looking vulnerable in transfer/contract negotiations and this latest move by Man Utd has certainly made them look slightly weaker.

It also forces Perez into rethinking his whole transfer strategy this summer.

Should he keep an unhappy Ramos for the next two seasons? Can he afford to bow down and give the defender all he wants in a new deal? Or does he come to the table and do a deal regarding De Gea going to Madrid and Sergio flying in the opposite direction?

Each predicament holds it’s own pitfalls.

Keeping an unhappy Ramos, could lead to infighting at the club, which would be a huge distraction for new boss Rafa Benitez. The defender is well respected in the dressing room and will be openly critical if he feels it’s warranted. By holding Ramos to his contract, it will reinforce to Louis van Gaal and the United board that they should do the same with De Gea.

By handing Sergio all he wants in terms of a new contract then that sets a dangerous precedent and it will also make Perez look weak in front of the rest of the Galacticos.

Doing a swap deal between the United goalie and the Real centre-half, will mean that Real will actually be back to square one of needing to bring in another player in to shore the backline. I’d imagine that possible targets Leonardo Bonucci, Mats Hummels and Laurent Koscielny will all cost more than the £15m that they want to pay for De Gea’s services.

For Manchester United the interest in Ramos seems legit and you can see the attraction. The English Premier League side need an experienced defender to help them as they try and challenge in both the league and in Europe next season.

The twenty-nine year old international has won all there is to win with both Madrid and Spain and he could certainly have a great influence on United’s defence. He would fill the void that was left when Rio Ferdinand departed last summer, with his ball playing ways at the back.

United need to be wary regarding Ramos though. The more cynical amongst us still need to be convinced that the former Sevilla man actually wants to leave his homeland, he really could just be using the whole situation just to engineer the best possible contract at the Bernabeu.

If another world-class central defender were to become available in the mean time then I’d advise Van Gaal to make a play for him and not have all his eggs in the Sergio Ramos basket.

The whole saga between the clubs and the players would be made clearer if both stars actually had the balls to hand in written transfer requests (and forgo certain bonuses). As days go by and agents do the talking through source to the press, it just keeps everything in the shadows and prolongs the whole episode.

But whatever happens between now and the closure of the summer transfer window, Manchester United have a great opportunity to finally stand up to Real Madrid and show that the Spanish powerhouse can’t just walk over everyone when it comes to transfer deals!

Deals between the two can still be done this preseason but only if they are fair on both clubs.

Kris Boyd Should Forget About Rangers And Concentrate On Killie

Kris-Boyd

Kris Boyd has joined his first club Kilmarnock FC for his third spell at the Ayrshire club.

But as he signed on at Rugby Park he chose to take some time to have a dig at former side Rangers, in particular current ‘Gers’ chairman Dave King.

The Scottish striker said:

“What I will say is that we didn’t play with two men last year. Towards the end of the season, I think me and Lee McCulloch have taken a lot of stick but we were part of a 30-man squad.

“For me it is pretty easy to jump on the bandwagon and blame others. I found it very surprising how Dave King came out and had a go at players on a Friday or Saturday and all of a sudden he doesn’t have a manager.

“Then you hold another press conference on the Monday. Go and get your manager in and let him deal with your players rather than you. You concentrate on your job.

Boyd would then add:

“No disrespect to the players I played with last year but when you go from playing with World Cup players and top players, you look at Steven Davis and people like that.”

“I missed a few chances but last year as a squad we struggled. I think there was a lot of pressure on the strikers or got a lot of criticism. If it was one or two who weren’t doing it but there were four or five.”

So in one minute Boyd complains about the Gers fans and Dave King for jumping on a bandwagon blaming himself and former captain Lee McCulloch and then a few minutes later he seems to slag off his teammates for him failing to score last term.

King stated earlier this month:

“I’d be very, very surprised if a manager coming in with the budget he’ll have available to him would then want to go back and hire players who failed miserably last season.”

“So, the fact that 11 players have gone out is a great opportunity for the manager.”

Now Boyd has taken offence at that and feels it’s harsh.

But the fact is Hearts ran away with the Championship title and Rangers (who spent a vast amount on their squad) finished behind Hibs in third spot. The Gers would then lose the play-off final after two woeful performances against Motherwell.

The objective for last season was for Rangers to get back into the Scottish Premiership and the club as a whole ‘failed miserably’.

Now Boyd must have big balls to be critical of his critics because facts will back them up, not him!

Boyd said it was difficult to play under three different managers in a season. But in the bigger games and for large chunks of the season all three of those coaches dropped Boyd. They didn’t trust him to produce the goods when it mattered.

In 2013-14, while back at his hometown club Killie, Boyd scored an extremely impressive twenty-tow league goals in Scotland’s top flight. While last season in Scotland’s second tier Kris on managed a meagerly three strikes in twenty-nine league appearances. That is simply not good enough and in truth Boyd ‘failed miserably’ during his second stay at Ibrox.

The time has come for Boyd just to try and forget about his second stint at Rangers and concentrate on proving the doubters wrong, as they scoff at his new three year deal at Killie.

I don’t subscribe to the theory that the Ayrshire hitman’s career is at and end.

Kilmarnock boss Gary Locke is a known fan of the prolific striker. He’ll make Boyd his focal point to the team and have younger, hungrier players working in and around the frontman.

If  Boyd can stay fit, get a run of games and score early in the season then he will have confidence to shine once again in the Premiership. He has proved that twice with Kilmarnock in the past.

The forward needs support and confidence and I’ll agree with him that that seemed to be lacking at Rangers last season. If he can hit the ground running at Rugby Park then he’ll get both in spades from his management team and the clubs fans!

Hopefully Kris Boyd can rediscover his goalscoring form with Killie but I believe for him to do that then he needs to forget about last season, Dave King’s criticism and lose the chip on his shoulder.

It’s simple Boyd needs to get his head down, work hard and finish off his chances and then he will be be a hero at Kilmarnock once again!

Coleman Is Sensible Man United Target But Will They Splash The Cash For Him?

Seamus-Coleman

It’s yet another week during this summer’s transfer window and Manchester United have been linked with yet another right-back.

With Everton’s Seamus Coleman now supposedly topping their transfer wish-list after Dani Alves decided to remain at Barcelona and United decided not to follow up on their interest in now Liverpool bound Nathaniel Clyne.

Going by last season injury seems to have stalled Rafael’s career at Old Trafford, with Louis van Gaal still unconvinced by the Brazilian. Antonio Valencia can deputise in that right sided defensive position but it’s not a role that is suited to him on a full time basis. Last year proved that both Phil Jones and Chris Smalling need more games as centre-backs. While question marks hang over youngster Guillermo Varela and whether or not he’s ready for a full season in the first team.

So I’d imagine that bringing in a new experienced full-back will be a priority for Van Gaal as he looks to strengthen his squad, so that they’re capable of challenging in both the English Premier League and the Champions League.

Coleman seems to be a very attractive option.

In the past few seasons at Goodison, the Irish attacking defender has shown that he can play consistently well in the English top flight. He is pacey and likes to bomb forward and help create attacks. That said he is also reliable when it comes to working back. He seems to have endless energy levels, something that will have impressed Dutch coach Louis.

Last season Coleman played in thirty-five league games for the ‘Toffees’, the only player at Man Utd to have played that amount or more last term was keeper David de Gea.

When you include Everton’s games in the Europa League last term then Seamus scored five goals last term, one more than United flop striker Radamel Falcao.

Although moving for Seamus Coleman would make a lot of sense, going in with a £15m bid would be a complete waste of time.

Before people point to Clyne’s impending £12.5m fee to Anfield, the Englishman is entering his last year on his contract. While Coleman has four years left on his current deal. Thus meaning everything is staked in Everton’s favour.

Mind the last time Man United went after some Everton players? 

They offered £30m for both Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines during the summer of 2013. On the final day of that summer transfer window, United managed to purchase just Belgian Fellaini for an inflated fee of £27.5m.

See Everton are no longer a selling club that they once were. They now have enough funds in the coffers to hold out for higher-end fees for star players.

It’s a big reason why Baines is still there.

Reports suggest that United value Everton’s reliable defender at around £15m.

A day after those reports surfaced the Toffees have been quoted as saying that Coleman is simply ‘not for sale’. Showing us that it will take a bigger bid than the £15m that has been mentioned.

I’d imagine that Manchester United would have to add £10m onto that £15m figure just to get Everton to discuss the possibility of letting the twenty-six year old leave Goodison.

Earlier this year Everton boss Roberto Martinez stated that he believes Coleman is better off staying in Merseyside:

“I still think that Seamus Coleman can develop and progress with Everton,”

“The good thing about a player such as Seamus is that he’s been growing over the years, but I still feel that now he’s got a bigger role to play in his career.”

“He’s become important in a team that we want to grow in order to achieve big things as well. Sometimes that’s better than going to a club in Europe where you’re not guaranteed to play.”

So considering the fact that Everton won’t bow down to Man United and sell for anything near £15m I think that signing Coleman will be a non-starter this summer.

I think Louis van Gaal will instead look at those options he still has; Rafael, Valencia and Varela and see if one of them can up their game during United’s up and coming US tour this preseason.

Should they fail to impress then maybe the Dutchman will make a large bid for Coleman but if I was to put a bet on it I’d say that Van Gaal will end up going for a cheaper option than the Irish international.